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  • Widescreen 2.35:1
  • 16:9 Enhanced
  • Dual Layer ( )
  • English: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround
  • None
  • 3 Theatrical trailer - Confidence, Anger Management, National Security
  • 3 Interviews - Dustin Hoffman, Edward Burns, Red Carpet Interviews


Columbia Pictures/Sony Pictures Home Entertainment . R4 . COLOR . 93 mins . M15+ . PAL


I love a good con movie. I reckon a story where some bad guy is getting outwitted by extraordinary means is just the best. With this slick film from director James Foley (GlenGarry Glen Ross) we get everything. There’s intrigue, a carefully spun web of lies, great acting and a decent storyline. Whilst the con itself is fairly straightforward and almost too simple, the surrounding storylines prop it up and keep the viewer on their toes throughout.

There seems to be a new school of the criminal in film that sees us fall in love with the bad guys (but only if they don’t hurt anyone...) Well, maybe not so new, but by film’s end we just want to see them win against the worse guys (these are the ones who break bones). While everyone in this film is a crook (not including some poor marks) they all live on different levels of crookdom, and we can’t help but like our main hero in Jake (Edward Burns). Played carefully with some nice direct-to-camera work (which is always hard), Burns as our protagonist is all at once endearing, charming and dead good looking.

See, Jake has a sweet outfit of pals who set up the marks and swindle them of their dough. On their latest highjink, they happen to steal money from The King (Dustin Hoffman), albeit by a roundabout route. Then, for retribution on a longstanding debt, one of The King’s men kills Big Al, one of Jake’s crew. Knowing The King is malevolent over even trivial matters, they decide to be upfront about the money, and The King asks they do a con for him against his nemesis, the powerful banker Morgan Price.

"If you own a rug, you own too much."

Needing a new member after Big Al’s demise, Jake hooks up with Lily, and the con goes into overdrive as a complicated web of deceits and trickery are played out like a chess game. Plus, to add to his troubles, Jake has a greasy special agent (Andy Garcia) chasing him down for another offense of years ago. Do the crew have what it takes to pull off this biggest of cons and still get away clean? Seeing as Jake tells most of the story with a gun in his mouth, it doesn’t seem likely.

Dustin Hoffman is awesome in the role of the fidgety Attention-Deficit-Disorder King, slipping easily from juvenile to sleazy to menacing to affable in split seconds and piling one character type upon another until he isn’t even recognisable as Hoffman any more. A true master of the craft, he is entirely convincing as the dangerous King and really amplifies the content of the film. Burns is cool and calculating in the role of Jake and the supporting cast is perfect as Jake’s team of highly specialised grifters. Special note must also go to Paul Giamatti, a highly underrated actor who shines here as Gordo, the second in command of Jake’s outfit. His roles of late are improving out of sight, as anyone seeing the recent American Splendor will tell you.

Taking a cue from the Soderberghs and Finchers, Foley has utilised the cool jazzy musical style and sleek digital post of film’s like Ocean’s Eleven, Fight Club and even Charlie’s Angels to bring that 21st century laidback crime thriller feel to the piece. It’s certainly a formula that works well and has been employed to good effect here.


With some reels of this film still lying around on cinema desktops, Confidence looks sensational on DVD. Not an artefact in sight, colours are fine, flesh tones are perfect and shadow detail is superb. The film has it all visually and there is really nothing I can report as a failing. What else would we expect from the Sony DVD Center?


As usual, this recent film has a Dolby Digital 5.1 surround soundtrack as standard, though it should be an optional extra sometimes. There is little use for the surrounds in this mostly talky film. Music gets delivered around us during some craftier scenes, but they sit on their hands for the most part.

That being said, the sound is still awesome. There's tons of stuff not there that shouldn’t be there and crystal clear stuff that should. All round a very clean transfer that makes the dialogue clear, the sound effects sharp and the musical score by Christophe Beck (of Buffy fame) deliciously clean and sultry.


The let down of the fine transition to DVD. Whilst not being in bad condition, the extras are just a collection of mostly promo junk I daresay most of us could easily live without. There are the usual trailers of course and herein are three. Confidence (natch), Anger Management and the weak National Security. Alas, not a lot there.

Next up there are two interviews with first Dustin Hoffman and second Edward Burns. Hoffman’s runs for 8:22 at 4:3 and Burns’ for 7:57, also at 4:3. Both are the usual promo stuff used on cable television as filler material between shows. Whilst interesting, I’m betting they’re a one-watch wonder.

Finally, some more interviews in the form of Red Carpet stuff. At the premier our intrepid interviewer (whoever he is) speaks briefly and individually with Edward Burns, Dustin Hoffman, director James Foley and writer Doug Jung. 9:10 worth of these and again, a bit of a one-watch, so all up a pretty paltry collection.


Starting out with the grabbing hook of Jake in serious trouble, the film as told in flashback works very well; especially as the people holding Jake slowly come into the storyline. The script has been well polished and cleverly worked to be tight and complete, with several storylines intersecting and not becoming too complicated to follow. Foley, a long time master of the crime thriller, has wrung fabulous performances from the cast and has captured a total essence for the piece well. A truly enjoyable film experience adds value to the overall DVD, but the rather trite extras cheapen it a little. However, the film will stand up to repeated viewings, no doubt delivering more each time. Mostly nice work all round.

  • LINK: http://www.dvd.net.au/review.cgi?review_id=3254
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      And I quote...
    "Another sleek and sassy production about how cool it is to be a criminal."
    - Jules Faber
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